Breil-sur-Roya is a commune located in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (France), in the Roya river valley.

Its inhabitants are called Breillois.

Tourism and main attractions

Religious heritage:

  • Santa-Maria-in-Albis Church, built from 1663 to 1700 on the remains of an old Romanesque church. You can admire the frescoes which adorn the vaults (Assumption of the Virgin), a magnificent organ case in carved and gilded wood and a primitive altarpiece (1500) dedicated to Saint Peter.

  • Church of Saint-Marc de Piène Haute.
  • Church of Saint-Michel de Libre.
  • Chapel of the Black Penitents or Chapel of Mercy.
  • Notre-Dame-du-Mont chapel, the oldest parts of which date from the 11th century.
  • Saint-Jean bell tower (11th century), the only vestige of an old priory from the 11th century destroyed by the soldiers of Prince Eugene, during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Other heritage:

  • Gate of Genoa: one of the three gates which closed the city, when it was surrounded by ramparts.
  • Cruella Tower (11th century) built by the counts of Ventimiglia. Restored by volunteers in 2004-2006.
  • The Ecomusée du Haut-Pays et des Transports is an interesting summary of the evolution of public transport in the Haut Pays Nice since 1900. The agricultural and hydraulic activities of the region are also retraced.

Military fortifications:

  • Remains of the redoubt castle of Castéa. Dismantled after 1814.
  • Monte-Grosso, a fortification of the Maginot line built on the summit of the same name (Mont Gros) on the south-western limit of the commune of Breil.

The GR52, part of the French Grande Randonnée walking trail network links the town to Gorges de Saorge and Vallon de Zouayne.

Breil-sur-Roya is particularly known for trout fishing. The Roya river runs through town and is open to trout anglers from March to September. Part of the trout run is reserved for fly-fishing. Trout anglers share the river with rafters, another popular local sport.

How to get to?

Breil-sur-Roya is one of the towns on the route of the SNCF Train des Merveilles which runs between Nice and Cuneo in Italy. Trains operate seven times each direction as of 2020 and can be taken from Nice (1 + 1/2 hour) for area touring. The line operated by Italy (FS, the Italian State Railroad) from Ventimiglia joints the SNCF line from Nice at Breil-sur-Roya.

Shortest distances by car:

From Paris: 9 hr 35 min (992 km) via A6 and A7

From Marseille: 3 hr 6 min (259 km) via A8

From Nice: 1 hr 7 min (59.0 km) via A8

From Toulouse: 6 hr 15 min (621 km) via A8

From Monaco: 1 hr 6 min (51.8 km) via SS20

From Andorra: 8 hr 1 min (711 km) via A8

From Madrid: 13 hr 10 min (1,326 km) via A-2

From Moscow: 34 hr (3,049 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 13 hr 42 min (1,313 km) via E70

From Istanbul: 23 hr 53 min (2,262 km) via E70

From Bern: 6 hr 55 min (595 km) via A10/E80

Main information

Area: 81,31 km2

Population: 2 206

Coordinates: 43°56′17″N 7°30′54″E

Language: French

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

See also France travel guide

See also Spain travel guide

See also Pyrenees travel guide

See also Andorra travel guide

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